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July/August 2009

In This Issue
July/August 2009

Image of definition of "aint" from Webster's Second.

Ain’t That the Truth

Webster's Third: The Most Controversial Dictionary in the English Language.

By David Skinner

Volume 30, Issue 4

Webster's Third Dictionary became infamous after mistaken reports that it treated "ain't" as proper English.

Dona Bagley

  • Features

    Image of A View of Two Lakes and Mountain House, Morning, 1844 by Thomas Cole.

    Living Off the Landscape

    How Thomas Cole and Frederic Church made themselves at home in the Hudson River Valley.

    By Tom Christopher
    Image of Wallace Stegner

    Proud Flesh

    A recollection of Wallace Stegner.

    By Kenneth Fields
    Herman Melville

    Swimming Through Libraries

    What Herman Melville read, and how he read, inspired his masterpiece.

    By James Williford
    Image of Golden Notebook website

    What IF?

    The book gives way to the download, and solitary reading transforms into virtual conversations.

    By Steve Moyer
  • Departments


    Reverberations of the Fourth of July

    MASSACHUSETTS On July 5, 1852, while citizens across the country were still celebrating American freedom, Frederick Douglass, the country’s most prominent former slave, delivered arguably the century’

    By Laura Wolff Scanlan

    Khrushchev in Iowa

    Coon Rapids, Iowa, was crawling with spies.

    By Michael Knock

    Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby

    While walking home on a snowy Michigan day in 1970 after taking pictures for his high school newspaper, fourteen-year-old Craig Varjabedian passed by an art gallery.

    By Laura Wolff Scanlan

    Time Travels

    Some thirteen thousand years ago, when most archaeologists agree that humans first populated North America, a Paleo-Indian tribe left a cache of stone weapons in southern Iowa, maybe to be finished an

    By Amy Lifson


    Baskerville Hounded

    From The Most Disreputable Trade: Publishing the Classics of English Poetry 1765–1810 by Thomas F. Bonnell, published by Oxford University Press, 2008.

    Wild Time in the Poconos

    From The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied, Volume I, May 1832–April 1833, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, 2008, in which the aristocratic naturalist and

    Good Stable Manners

    In Ancient Rome and Modern America, NEH-funded scholar Margaret Malamud looks at the ways visions of the imperial city have been incorporated into everything from the Constitution to Caes

    Teenie Harris Image Collection

    African-American news photographer “Teenie” Harris’s career at the Pittsburgh Courier spanned forty years, during which time he recorded daily life in Iron City’s many diverse neighborhoods.

    Comanche Robe

    This painted Comanche hide, which dates from the mid nineteenth century, served as a robe for a child.


    Reading Into the Great Depression

    Critic Morris Dickstein talks about the culture of the thirties and the demise of theory.

    Impertinent Questions

    Impertinent Questions with Alan Houston

    On the cosmopolitan Benjamin Franklin.

    By Meredith Hindley (edited by)

    Executive Function

    Maryland’s Phoebe Stein Davis

    Phoebe Stein Davis is determined to make the humanities relevant.

    By Donna M. Lucey


    Editor's Note, July/August 2009

    I have become a regular purchaser of old books, and as I pull these worn-out tomes from my mailbox I wonder if anyone else is still reading these particular works.

    By David Skinner